Page:Canterbury Papers.djvu/32

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24
INFORMATION RESPECTING THE

coast line, which you will perceive by the tracing is twenty miles in error; the best we visited, excepting Akaroa, has been wisely selected by Mr. Thomas as a resort for the ships bringing out the Canterbury settlers. I had an opportunity of viewing the plains from their northern end, at an elevation of 3,000 feet; and it then occurred to me they might be appropriately designated, the Great Southern Plains of New Zealand. An extent southernly of about one hundred miles of prairie land, fertile and well watered, lay before me, varying in width from thirty to fifty miles, and bounded on the west by a range of mountains mostly capped with snow, affording means of extending the triangulation midway across the Island. With regard to the capabilities of the harbour, I have to remark that, besides its vicinity to this open and fertile district, it is the most approachable of any anchorage I have visited in New Zealand. In the first place, its position being close to the N.W. end of Banks's Peninsula, always renders it recognisable to strangers from a considerable seaward distance in clear weather: in the second, the remarkably gradual shoaling of the water, a feature not before met with in these volcanic islands.—I have, &c.

(Signed)John L. Stokes,

Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort, K.C.B.
Hydrographer, Admiralty.




Extracts from a Letter written at Wellington, in New Zealand, May 2, 1849.

Just returned from two months' cruise at Banks's Peninsula. Climate delightful. Of three-and-thirty days I was in the 'Bush,' only one wet—while elsewhere it was blowing gales and raining constantly. The Middle Island is delightful. Everywhere on the east side of the mountains rich grass, knee deep, often breast high! Plains extend uninterruptedly from thirty miles northward of Port Cooper to one hundred miles south of it: on an average, thirty-five miles wide.

Nothing will now satisfy me but the beef and mutton, the milk and cheese, the apples and nine of Banks's Peninsula and the plains behind it.

We are all quite delighted with the country, and agree that it is far more worth M. an acre than other land is worth 5s. I am confident that the proposed Church of England Settlement will prove the most wealthy of any in New Zealand, in spite of the cost of the land. There it is; you pay 3l., and may plough it up, or put your sheep on it at once. On the Peninsula, in the hands of about three settlers, are some 6,000 or 8,000 of the woolly tribe. At Cape Campbell, Mr. Clifford alone owns 6,000.

I now, for the first time, think New Zealand really capable of going on in a flourishing manner.




Replies from Messrs. Deans to Captain Thomas's Inquiries.

Riccarton, near Port Cooper, 20th January, 1849.

Dear Sir,—In order to perform the promise we made of furnishing you with a statement of our experience for the last six years as settlers in this district, we shall now answer in their order the queries you left with us, and afterwards add a few observations not embraced in them.

1st. 'As to the weather,' August, September, and October are the spring months. These months may be said to be pretty much of the same description as the spring months in England, with this exception, that here we have a greater number of fine warm days; there are likewise generally a few frosty mornings at the commencement of this season. The summer season includes the months of November, December, and January. There has been considerable variation in the character of the weather during the summers we have been here; some of them have been very dry, and in others we have had more or less rain during